Couple more questions for camera Dopers

Hi all. Thanks for all the good info in my previous thread.

As the title says, I have a couple more questions. I found a memory card; do I need a card reader? What is a card reader anyway?

Here’s one from Newegg. Is this good? Rosewill RSD-CR106 Black USB 2.0 External Single slot SD / MMC Card Reader - Newegg.com What the hell is hot-swapping. Sounds like something to do with a hot Carl and it is skeeving me out hey.

And any recommendations for digital photography books would be great. I have my old college text for basic B+W knowledge stuff, I’d like to look at a few books that are more digital SLR-oriented. Thanks!

Yes, get a card reader, unless your computer has one built-in (which it might; but then it might not take the card your camera uses). This is what you use to get the images from the camera to the computer. Your other option is to use the USB cable that will likely come with your camera, but that drains the camera batteries, so better to just remove the card and suck the images out of that with the card reader.

Don’t go with the one on New Egg. First, do quick research to see if there are any compatibility issues with your camera and any brand of reader (unlikely, but doesn’t hurt to check). And then go with a Sandisk, IMO. Better to have two 4GB than one 8, also IMO, but get the fastest one you can afford. Speed matters if you are going to take several frames continuously.

Get a third-party book for your camera, there is going to be a wealth of info in there that is not in the manual that came with the camera. If that’s not enough, look for a book that covers the type of photography you want to learn–portraits, wildlife, landscapes, etc. They are all different and require different skills.

Finally, even though you didn’t ask–if you haven’t already, get and learn Photoshop. Use Elements if necessary, but learn how to straighten your horizons, correct your white balance, crop effectively, and all the rest.

Many cameras will download right from the camera without pulling the card out. Depending on the camera you get, you may never have to take the card out.
ETA I have card readers in both of my computers and I never use them as the software that came with my cameras will pull the files right off of the card while it is still in the camera.

I’m going to second the advice to get a card reader. Batteries have a life span and I’d rather spend mine taking pictures than downloading photos. It’s also more convenient if you don’t have a ton of desk space or if (like me) your desk is a cluttered mess that you wouldn’t risk your precious camera on.

Also seconding the advice to learn photoshop, elements or if you can’t afford either right now, at the very least the software that comes with your camera. Post production work was a lot more difficult when it required a dark room and chemicals, but it’s just as fun now.

I generally plug a USB cable into the camera to transfer pictures to the computer. Canon provides software that (1) can automatically transfer only new pictures, i.e., those that have not previously been transferred, and (2) arrange the pictures in folders by he date they were taken. Both of those are useful. Yes, it uses the camera’s battery, but since I use rechargeable batteries, and always carry a couple of spares, I don’t find that a problem.

I love using a card reader. I have an Edge All in 1. It works really well. Card readers are notoriously faulty; this is my third one and I have no issues with it.

My laptop has a pcmcia slot. I bought a card that takes the Compact Flash cards my camera uses.

Get a card reader. The one in the link I’ve never seen, I have an SD card reader built into my laptop, but I have an Sandisk as a backup. It makes life much easier and it usually transfers much faster then straight from the camera.

Battery life can be an issue, but it’s pretty unlikely these days to exhaust your batteries for a 5-10 minute download, especially with rechargeable batteries.

I have to step in and totally disagree with this advice and steer you toward Adobe Lightroom 2. LR is built specifically for photographers and is widely regarded as an indispensable piece of software for the photographer. PS has its place, but LR can do virtually everything you’ll need it to do, effectively and efficiently.

PS is outrageously expensive, LR is $199 ($98 if you know/are a student or teacher).

I own both and do tons of post-processing; 95% of my photos never leave LR.

Of note: LR 3 is in beta and will soon be released, so wait for that. In the meantime, you can download a 30-day free trial.

Good luck!

I used to use the camera’s USB cable to download the photos. Since I’ve gotten a card reader though, there’s no way I’m ever going back.

Some are read only some are read and write. Know what you want to be able to do the card. Some printers have a card reader built in so if all you want is to read the card to download to the computer you can use that. Hot swapping is not powering down to remove or insert the component.